Most of us can recall being read to when we were little. Few, however, can remember exactly how we learned to read. How we learned the shapes of letters, their meanings and sounds, and how they could be strung together to form words and sentences.
Luckily, you don’t need to remember these details to teach your child the same skills. With tons of online resources by your side, you’ll have the perfect toolkit to turn your child into a future bookworm.
Check out the videos and games below to help your child master the art of reading.
Starfall is a great resource because it has a variety of videos and activities for kids at different reading levels. Parents and kids can choose from four categories: ABCs, Learn to Read, It’s Fun to Read, and I’m Reading. Each category offers a large selection of level-appropriate books, interactive videos, and activities that progressively increase in difficulty as your child’s skills improve. For example, in the ABC level, your child can focus on one letter at a time, practicing pronunciation and learning words that begin with that specific letter. In the I’m Reading level, kids can select an illustrated book from various categories — Greek Mythology, Comics, Chinese Fables — and click on words they need help reading to hear them spoken aloud.
Hooked on Phonics is a well-known tool for teaching reading to young children. You can purchase grade-specific kits online, and many of the short videos can also be found on YouTube (check out the one in the link above). These clips include level-appropriate lessons for students in Pre-K through second grade. Videos for students in first and second grade focus on selecting one letter at a time and showing various words in which that letter is used, thus helping kids recognize certain patterns. Viewers are engaged by listening to the word being read while seeing it spelled.
Kiz Phonics is another phonics-based system that provides a wealth of videos and interactive materials for children between preschool and second grade. Kids can choose categories for learning, such as short vowels, letter recognition, and capital and lower-case letters. Lessons are taught through animated videos that focus on a letter or syllable at a time. Kidz Phonics primarily operates on a subscription model, but some of their clips are free, so you can test out the site with your child before making a commitment.
Teaching Channel is designed for teachers and parents. The site has a large library of videos that take you inside real classrooms and show how exceptional teachers are educating students around the world. The link above will take you to a clip that illustrates the use of role-playing, dramatization, and poster-making. Across the site, parents can find numerous exercises that can be adapted at home.
While some of the games and clips on this site are free, BrainPop Jr. is a subscription-based learning center that puts together interactive videos for students of all ages. The site is specifically designed for students in kindergarten through third grade. In the English section, kids can choose a variety of topics, such as Phonics, Words, Comprehension, Reading, Authors, and Writing. The animated videos are based around the Common Core standards. Schools can also subscribe to BrainPop Jr., which affords students free access to the material.